PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth boys lacrosse team finally moved the immovable object.
Since moving up to Division II in 2015, the Derryfield boys lacrosse team had been in every state final and won four, including a pair over Portsmouth.
But on their home field, the Clippers used a three-goal fourth quarter to finally get past the Cougars in June, 6-4, to set up a championship matchup Saturday with Timberlane.
“It means quite a lot,” Portsmouth coach Chad Vischer said. “They still are the perennial power in the league. They got the best coach, they got great players. I still think of that as an upset. Until you knock off the champions, you can’t consider yourself otherwise.”
It was a nip-and-tuck game throughout with defense leading the way for both sides. The breakthrough finally came midway through the fourth quarter when freshman Zac Amend picked a corner to give the Clippers the lead.
Just under two minutes later, it was junior Michael Durkin expanding the lead, and senior attack Houston Heidinger ripped one low two minutes later to make it 6-3 with 2:35 to play in the game.
Durkin and Amend each finished with two goals.
“I don’t think they’ve lost for four years [in the tournament], Durkin said. “It’s just crazy. It was a tough game the first time we played them in the season and got the win. We just did it again and kept rolling.”
Alex Murray got one back for the Cougars in the final minutes, but Derryfield couldn’t win faceoffs late to generate possessions.
“That was two well-matched teams,” Derryfield coach Chris Hettler said. “It came down to a couple of individual matchups. That’s what it came down to. Defensively, both goalies played well. Both defenses played really well. It came down to a couple of plays in the middle of the field. We knew it was going to be like that.”
The Clippers won the turnover battle by six and won two more faceoffs. Portsmouth also collected five more ground balls than Derryfield, and all those possessions paid off as the game wore on.
Keghan Myers helped anchor the back line for the Clippers and junior Skyler Mikolaities made five saves in net.
On the other side, Derryfield goalie Jaxon Snyder was magnificent with 11 saves between the pipes.
“He played the way we know he’s capable of,” Hettler said. “We’re just sad we couldn’t get him an opportunity to continue to show everybody the way he can play. Thrilled with the way he played today.”
Saturday’s final will be the fourth in program history for the Clippers and will crown a first-time champion.